Chronic Pain Syndrome – The Nonstop Pain

Chronic Pain Syndrome – The Nonstop Pain

Chronic Pain Syndrome - The Nonstop Pain

Medically reviewed by: Ilbey Ucar – PhD
(Psychology)

Last updated date : April 06, 2022

We have all experienced pain. Aches, bruises, knocks and bumps are all part of life. Chronic pain however is different. It’s an ever constant pain that has you in ongoing distress. This article is your one-stop to identify the types of chronic pain, its causes, symptoms, and most importantly what is necessary to be done to reduce or eliminate the pain. We break down chronic pain syndrome so that you are better prepared to manage it. 

Chapter 1:
Pain - Simply Explained

Firstly, pain is part of life, it effects us from the moment we are born till the day we die. Similarly, it varies in severity, cause, and type. We can inflict pain upon ourselves, self-harm being a common example or pain can be inflected on us by others. On top of that, almost any physical or mental damage done to a person can worsen pain. 

Whilst it is agonising, pain, in some cases might be a good thing. It teaches us what not to do, for instance touching a hot stove and where our limits are, for example 20 minutes on the bike is your safe limit. 

The young boy with pain in the left shoulder sitting on the floor holding his painful knee
Chapter-2-12-Epsychonline

Chapter 2:
What Is Chronic Pain?

Pain is a natural way of signaling you that there is something wrong with your body. Naturally, pain lessens with the healing process of the injury. However, as opposed to the pain that suddenly occurs, or lasts due to a reason, chronic pain syndrome is a condition that effects one’s life long after the muscle damages have been repaired. The body will continue to send pain signals to your brain for no apparent reason. This situation could last for weeks or even years. In addition, with chronic pain syndrome the signals sent by the brain may be extreme for no reason.

Continuous pain with no cause can have a severe toll. It may affect mobility, focus, decision making, and overall comfort. It is also a very common situation, affecting at least 1 in 6 of all people. Some experts believe that those affected with chronic pain have a over active pain registering system, that won’t quieten down. 

Some of the most common types of chronic pain include headaches, post-trauma pain, pains after surgery, back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and nerve damage pain.

Chapter-3-13-Epsychonline-Target

Chapter 3:
Acute Pain Vs Chronic Pain?

Acute pain is the sharp alarming pain that springs out all of a sudden. The causes of these acute pains are specific. They last for less than six months. Treating the underlying causes will make the pain goes away. Some of these causes involve breaking a bone, surgery, cut, burns, labour, or dental work.

Chronic pain lasts for longer than six weeks. The pain continues even after the initial injury. Some may suffer from chronic pain even when there have been no obvious past injuries or causes.

Chapter-4-14-Epsychonline-Calm

Chapter 4:
What Are the Causes of Chronic Pain?

Doctors aren’t sure why chronic pain happens. However, in most cases, chronic pain has an initial trigger. Chronic pain takes place because, after nerve damage, continuous pain signals are sent to the brain regardless of the injury healing. 

However, chronic pain can take place without any prior reason. These can be caused due to underlying health conditions. Mental illness may worsen chronic pain. 

Below are a few of the most common causes of chronic pain.

Recent surgeries

Post-op chronic pain is one of the most common complications after surgery. This issue may be caused due to reduced mobility or activities after surgery, the effect surgery has on the quality of life, and the increased utilization of health care. However, The issue of post-op chronic pain is not limited to major surgeries. In other words, surgical techniques influencing the nervous system are one of the major reasons behind post-op chronic pain.

Past injuries

Long after a past injury, and long after the healing of the damaged muscles, your brain may still receive pain signals from your nerves. Take this as a malfunctioning alarm that’s based on an event that’s been over a long time ago. However, this may cause lasting chronic pain without an existing reason. This may also take place due to nerve damage that may have happened when you injured yourself.

Joint problems

The most common joint problem causing chronic pain is Arthritis. Joints are what connect bones. In other words, any damage caused to the joins will have you in pain and make it difficult to get about. Straining and straining your joints can lead to this situation.

These pains can be mildly irritating to extremely painful. Above all, they tend to last a long time.

Headaches

Lots of things can be wrong inside your head. If left undiagnosed and untreated, these wrong things can develop to be extremely dangerous. Therefore, the pain can be everlasting. In other words, it is unlikely you will ever get a clear head and ability to focus without having to suffer.

Migraines, tension headaches, and sinus headaches are painful. Thus, the victim is likely to experience a continuous pounding in the head, nausea, and sensitivity to light. Chronic pain tends to continue for a long time. That can happen even after these extreme symptoms are treated. Things may not be as bad, but you may still wake up with an aching head.

Cancer

Cancer related pain can be acute or chronic.

Chronic pain of cancer can be due to the nerve damage caused. When cancer presses on nerves due to the chemicals produced by the tumor, nerve damage happens. The pain can continue long after treatment and healing. It may also become severe at times but will last all the time.

Chapter-5-15-Epsychonline-Dream

Chapter 5:
Are You at Risk of Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a common problem. But, individuals with the features below are more likely to experience chronic pain syndrome.

  1. Have had a recent injury
  2. Had a surgery
  3. Female (chronic pain more often affects women)
  4. Overweight
  5. Previous episodes of chronic pain
Chapter-6-16-Epsychonline-Time

Chapter 6:
Symptoms to Look Out For

Chronic pain may be mild, or severe enough to have you lying in the bed all day. Here are a few symptoms you can identify before things get out of control.

  • Extremely lethargic and not wanting to be active.
  • Dull pain
  • Throbbing/pulling pain
  • No appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Severe lack of energy
  • Soreness/stiffness of muscles

It is important to remember that chronic pain symptoms change according to the underlying cause.

The young boy sitting in the doctor's room complaining about his painful headache
Chapter-7-Epsychonline-brain

Chapter 7:
Diagnosing Chronic Pain

If an individual is experiencing pains constantly for the past 6 weeks, they may be suffering due to a chronic pain syndrome.

For a formal diagnosis and treatment, you should meet your healthcare provider. Make sure to take a list of medications you are taking. It helps the doctor identify any underlying illnesses. Below are some of the questions they may ask in order to identify the issue and provide the necessary care.

  • Since when have you been experiencing pain?
  • How severe does the pain get?
  • What makes the pain better or bearable?
  • Is there a reason that may cause these pains?
  • Does anywhere else on your body hurt?
  • What kind of pain do you feel?
  • Have you had treatment before?

In addition, below are a few questions you can ask your doctor to make facts clear for yourself.

  • Why am I in pain?
  • Is it likely to go away?
  • *If prescribed what kind of side effects will the medication have on me?
  • Can therapy help in my case?
  • How can I relieve the pain?
  • What should I do in case it gets worse?
  • For how long should I take this treatment?
  • When should I come back for a checkup?

Your doctor may order a C.T. scans or M.R.I. to determine if any underlying injury causing the chronic pain. Blood tests are also ordered to rule out inflammatory disease. Nerve conduction studies may be exclude nerve damage. Other tests may include urine tests, balance tests, X-rays, etc.

Chapter-8-Epsychonline-Machinary

Chapter 8:
Treatment for Chronic Pain

It is important to get an accurate diagnosis and follow through with the medical plan recommended by the doctors. Chronic pain syndrome management plans are created based on each individual’s symptoms, severity, and causes. 

If your discomfort is caused by an disease such as arthritis, you can reach out to a specialist for a specific treatment. However, most chronic pain treatments aim to relieve symptoms and avoid further injury. 

There are a some chronic pain syndrome treatment methods which involve procedures. Those include physical therapy using heat or cold, spinal cord stimulation, nerve block, or surgery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also used on patients with chronic pain issues. It is a counseling method that helps people cope with their pain. Any sort of therapy is mostly used when the cause for the pain cannot be identified. This also includes counseling. Occupational therapy will help victims to engage in daily activities in ways that cause minimum pain. Physical therapy will help them engage in exercises and build daily activity habits to cope with the pain.

Other treatment options for chronic pain patients include,

  • hypnosis
  • acupuncture
  • stress reduction
  • medication
  • bio-feedback

Do talk to your doctor about these options in order to receive guidance on what is best for you. 

Chapter-9-Epsychonline-Lock

Chapter 9:
How Can I Help Myself with Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain only makes life harder. There comes a time that one does not have the energy to meet a doctor.

Even though chronic pain is unlikely to be cured, there are still things that can be done to reduce the pain. Below are a few strategies that are meant to be of help.

Do not push yourself too hard

You are in pain. It is okay to not be able to do 100% of the things you used to. Try to stick to a plan and get the well-deserved rest. Trying too hard will only make the situation worse. Physically and emotionally.

Stick to a balanced diet

It is important to keep up with the energy level your body requires, especially under the stress a chronic pain patient is. Make sure you have those vegetables, fruits, and enough protein on your plate, and a lot of water in your cup.

Get enough sleep

The medication and physical strain you are under will undoubtedly exhaust you. Not to mention, the continuous pain. Your body and mind need the rest of a good night’s sleep.

Stay as active as possible

So much as sitting up may be hard when you’re experiencing chronic pain, but being immobile only makes the situation worse. In addition to engaging in daily activities, try to get in some home exercise.

Limit Alcohol/ Smoking

Your body needs attention. Listen to its needs at this critical time. Be aware of what goes in it. The goal is to get better.

Try to relax

Do what it takes to keep you happy and motivated. Join a support group, so you can learn from their experiences. Try breathing in or slow counting when the pain gets hard. Remind yourself that you are trying. Your body is trying, and that no one is going to give up. Look back at the long way you have come. Be proud of what you have overcome.

Engage in yoga/dancing

Try a fun way to keep you active. Yoga can be a very healthy way of staying busy. It is a specially designed exercise to benefit your muscles and bones. Put on your favorite music and dance around, when you feel down. Make sure to remember that it is a good life, just a little hard at times.

Pet therapy

If you are a pet lover, your pain is about to disappear with this plan. Adopt, foster, or visit your favorite animal. Make it two or three. Help them relieve their pain while having them help you, with yours. Pets can be a great way of relaxing. Not everyone is lucky enough to develop that bond and love with pets.

Get yourself massaged

You can hire help to massage you when you need it. Chronic pain can become severe without warning. Help that is advised on how best to serve you will be a good investment to relieve your pain.

The young boy remembering the time he was experiencing pain in his left knee
Chapter-10-Epsychonline-bullseye

Chapter 10:
Curing/Preventing Chronic Pain

Frustratingly, chronic pain is hard to be cure, especially if the exact cause isn’t found. People are likely to experience pain their whole life. However, pain reduction methods are effective. It’s important not to give up hope. Experts are working on cures, with more tests and experiments.

At Epsychonline we have a series of courses on health and well-being. We have a course on coping with chronic pain which you can find on our courses page. Living with chronic pain can be frustrating, but with the right tools and skills it can be a lot more bearable.